Wildlife of Albania
Unrestricted hunting has taken a heavy toll of Albanian wildlife, but hunting laws were introduced and nature preserves were established in the 1990s to protect the remaining jackals, wolves, and foxes and the even rarer wild boars, bears, and chamois. The mild coastal climate attracts great numbers of migratory birds, such as swallows, storks, ducks, geese, and pelicans. Sardines and mullet are among the fishes found in Albanian coastal waters, and trout are found in the streams and lakes of the mountains.
Exploring the Wild Beauty of the Land of the Shqipterim (photo essay)
Albania hosts at present the largest distribution area of the critically endangered Balkan lynx population. The lynx in Albania is currently distributed over four small nuclei in the north and east of the country. The two southernmost are actually supposed to be the more important ones – although they are smaller – due to the relatively large areas of still well preserved high mountain forests (BEGO 2001). The network of protected areas as proposed by the Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 1999 (and approved by the Council of Ministers in 2000, F. BEGO, pers. comm.) intends to cover much of the current lynx range (mainly in the form of national parks and landscape protected areas). A few protected areas are planned along the border to FYR Macedonia, where the main Macedonian lynx range lies, too. However, most of the proposed areas are small, and some areas within regions of lynx occurrence will not be protected. The connection between the four distribution nuclei including the one in FYR Macedonia should have highest priority, as it actually seems that the already small Balkan population is furthermore fragmented (see population report). Therefore, a habitat suitability study should be carried out. The Drin valley, densely populated and dammed up over long stretches, is a potential barrier separating the northern Albanian and the Macedonian occurrence from the central and southern Albanian nuclei. Possible corridors need to be identified and secured.
2008_The_new_backbone_of_the_European_Green_Belt.pdf Albanian Alps, Korabi and Shebenik-Jablanica – the new backbone of the European Green Belt.
Albania is distinguished for its rich biological and landscape diversity. This diversity is attributable to the country’s geographic position as well as geological, hydrological, climatic, soil and relief characteristics. The mountainous terrain combined with steep cliffs creates ideal conditions for maintaining and protecting a large number of ancient species, some of which are endemic or sub-endemic. The high diversity of ecosystems and habitats (marine and coastal ecosystems, wetlands, river deltas, sand dunes, lakes, rivers, Mediterranean shrubs, broadleaf, conifers and mixed forests, alpine and sub-alpine pastures and meadows, and high mountain ecosystems) offers rich habitats for a variety of plants and animals. There are around 3,200 species of vascular plants and 756 vertebrate species. There are 27 endemic and 160 sub-endemic species of vascular plants.
Although one of the least known countries in Europe, Albania’s natural treasures are only a few years away from being discovered by nature lovers worldwide. Whilst the torquoise waters and sandy beaches of the Adriatic Sea in the West attract all kinds of travellers, the beauty of the Albanian Alps in the North and East will only reward those who enjoy hiking in the rugged realms of wolf, lynx and bear.
A new and imaginative itinerary visiting Europe’s newest nation, Montenegro, and one of its most mysterious: Albania. We’ll birdwatch amongst the area’s rich wetlands, its conifer-clad mountains, the fjords of the Adriatic coast and islands, starting and ending the tour in the wonderful old walled city of Dubrovnik.